Summer has begun and it is evident in the faces of my grandchildren. I have a plethora of grandchildren; each with a distinct and unique personality that bears the shadow of my own children. Their smiles and twinkling eyes are the keys to my heart and their laughter is the eternal spring of love that calls to the bubbling hope that lies within my own soul. I am privileged to have the opportunity to be near several of my g’babies and even more blessed that I get to keep some of them overnight. I have thought that they really enjoyed being with me. Sharing our time of reading and cooking, gardening or walking. Just hanging with me, The Meems, but I have had reason to be suspicious as of late. They still greet me with big smiles and sloppy kisses, but within minutes I find myself being courted and wooed for the privilege of playing with the technology I enjoy so much. “Mimi?, “ they say with big doe eyes and with just the right amount of sugary sweetness. “Can I play with your iPad? You know, the new game.” I usually give in and sit beside them watching and enjoying. I know that they love me. Right? And not just my technology? Right?
It’s my fault really. I mean I downloaded all the fun games for them to be entertained with and occasionally educated. Who can resist Hidden Objects or Pattern Sequences? One of my 4 year old grandsons can navigate the iPad with the ease of a 16 year old. He regularly switches between the games he enjoys so much and the Netflix movies he’s put into his instant queue, with his favorite being Kipper the Dog. Needless to say, I make sure there is a time limit on this high speed play time and boundaries are enforced, but I have wondered if I have ruined them for the simpler things. Where the world is not digitally enhanced and graphics are the real deal and they cannot switch between windows and change their view with the touch of a screen.
I popped into Michael’s for some kid friendly arts and crafts. With summer upon us and the opportunity to play outside on the temperature friendly days and forced to play inside when the heat is hideously oppressive, I needed to make sure that my bases were covered. Before we got in the store, the girly 7 year old treasure was coaching the 4 year old lad on how to beg for a toy. I told them both that my wisdom and advanced age had lessened their ability to use their cunning ploys to convince me to come home with an unnecessary plaything and…..If you believe that, then you, dear reader, are as gullible as they were. We walked up and down the aisles enjoying the air conditioning and the colorful, summer displays marketed exclusively for mothers and grandmothers who are on the prowl. But one thing caught my eye. It was only a dollar which meant I could buy one for each other the grandchildren and keep it under $10 bucks. It was a “blowing star”….aptly named by my 6 year old girly treasure. To the rest of the world, it’s just a pinwheel.
Blowing Star in hand, we walked toward the check-out counter. And that was when the magic hit. Both of them found that by running down the aisle they could make their star spin. Once we got to the truck and rolled down the windows, with firm instructions not to stick the blowing star out of the window, the real fun began. With one eye on the road and the other eye on the rear view mirror, I watched these two young techies delight themselves in the simplicity of a glittering pinwheel. The oldest treasure figured out quickly, that by catching the wind flow just right she could make her spinning star clatter and shake. This simple change of direction elicited a belly laugh and a trill of giggles from her backseat companion. Even at stoplights, the wind came through the car and struck a tune that made the star dance again. All the way home my truck cab was filled with the sounds of laughter and effortless joy. Sweet, pink cheeked cherubs were delighted and entertained by open windows and real life graphics that they harnessed the summer sun and wind.
It took me back to the simpler days of trouble-free childhood and uncomplicated play. I could hear the echoes of playing cards slapping against the spokes of my bike tires and the sounds of “olley, olley, in come free” hollered as the game of hide and seek ended against the backdrop of trees in shadow and lightening bugs dotting the night. They had that magic in the palm of their hands.
For a moment.
It was all they needed.